WATOC 2008

Useful Information

Presented below is some useful information for your trip to WATOC 2008. If there is anything you are still unsure about, please contact the Conference Manager, Jane Yeaman, Tulips Meeting Management, or one of the organisers of the conference (contact information for the latter is on the Welcome page). Jump to:

Australia Australia

Business Hours

Normal Australian business hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. During the week banks open at 9:00 or 9:30 AM and close at about 4:00 PM, except on Fridays, when they are open from about 9:00 AM to roughly 5:00 PM. Most banks are closed on weekends and public holidays. Automatic Teller Machines run 24 hours and are located throughout Sydney. Currency exchange facilities can be found at various locations in the city, as well as at airports, banks, and larger hotels.


Australian drivers drive on the left-hand side of the road; all Australian cars are right-hand drive.

Car Rental

The major international car rental companies all have offices in Sydney. In addition, there are local companies that offer car rental at reduced prices. A major local car rental company whose rates are worth checking out is Bayswater Car Rental.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are generally widely accepted, and in particular Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Diners Club will be accepted by the Congress.

Australia Australia


Decimal currency is used in Australia; currency units are dollars (AUD) and cents. Australian notes are: $100, $50, $20, $10, $5. Coins are: $2, $1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c.

One Dollar Coin

Currency data courtesy of coinmill.com

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Disabled Facilities

If you require the use of disabled facilities, please notify the secretariat through your registration form.


The electrical supply is 240 volts, at 50 Hz. Outlets are of the Australian AS 3112 standard (Type I plugs), with two angled flat blades and a third vertical flat blade for grounding. Most larger city hotels provide 110 volt plugs for shavers. Power points and plugs look like those pictured below:

Australian Plug

Health and Vaccinations

Australia has a high standard of hygiene; doctors and dentists are highly trained and hospitals are well-equipped. In the event of illness, hotel staff can arrange a doctor for you.

If you have been in a country infected with yellow fever up to six days before coming to Australia, you will need to present evidence of yellow fever vaccinations upon your arrival. You do not need any other health certificate to enter Australia. See this web page for more information.


It is strongly recommended that delegates take out adequate travel and health insurance prior to commencement of travel. Further information can be obtained from your travel agent.

Invitation Letters

Letters of invitation will not be issued for WATOC 2008. If you need assistance obtaining a visa, register and pay through the website. The Congress Secretariat will then process your registration and send you an invoice confirming the receipt of your payment and attendance at the Congress. You will then be able to present this to your Embassy or High Commission with the application of your visa. In the event that your application is unsuccessful, a full refund will be provided. We are liaising with the International Event Coordinator Network (IECN) of the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, to facilitate visa applications. Please present your registration confirmation letter when lodging your visa application at the Australian immigration office in your country. We are regularly providing a list of paid delegates to the IECN office in Australia.

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Limit on Numbers

Attendance at some sessions, social events and tours may be restricted in numbers. It is strongly recommended that you book for these functions with your registration to avoid disappointment. Preference will be given in sequence as registrations are received.

Passport and Visa

Every international visitor requires a valid passport to enter Australia. Anybody from a country eligible for an Electronic Travel Authority (an ETA) can apply for one online (for $20.00): this will let you stay in Australia for up to three months. Anybody from a country ineligible for an ETA needs to apply for a visa from an Australian visa office, embassy, or ConsulatE. This costs $70.00.

Public Transport in Sydney

Sydney has an extensive network of buses, monorails, trains and ferries. There are a wide variety of fare packages. For example, an individual short-distance bus ticket currently costs $1.70. A "Blue TravelTen" that allows ten such trips currently costs $13.60. A seven-day TravelPass that allows unlimited short-distance travel on any of the forms of public transport (i.e. bus or train or ferry) currently costs $33 (less than a typical one day car rental). There are many other possibilities. TravelPasses and TravelTen tickets may be purchased from major railway stations, bus transit shops, and selected newsagencies and newsstands.


Australia is free from many plant and animal diseases prevalent in other countries. Very strict quarantine rules apply to the importation of animals and plants. Quarantine officers screen all flights, passengers, baggage, mail and cargo coming into Australia. More information can be found here.

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Australia applies a 10% tax called Goods and Service Tax (GST) to most goods and services sold. Tax is included in advertised prices, unless specified otherwise.

Australia also has a Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS), which enables a traveller to claim a GST refund on purchases of $300 or more. The purchases must be made in one store, within thirty days of leaving Australia. and must be worn or carried out of Australia. They should be presented, along with their original tax invoice, to a customs official no later than thirty minutes before your flight out of Australia. See this web site for more information.

Time Difference

During WATOC 2008, Sydney will be ten hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (i.e. GMT+10), so travellers flying westward across the Pacific Ocean will lose a day by crossing the International Date Line. The 'lost day' will be regained on the return journey.

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Tipping is not as widespread or regulated in Australia as it is in some other parts of the world. Although it is less common to tip in Australia than it is in the USA, many people still choose to give tips for good service. Some people choose to give a fixed percentage of the total bill, whilst others give what change they have. No service charges are added to hotel or restaurant bills, leaving the value of the tip completely up to the tipper.


September marks the beginning of spring in Sydney. The average temperature ranges from about 11-20 °C (52-68 °F). September is the driest month in Sydney: there are an average of seven wet days, bringing approximately 70 mm (2¾ in.) of rain.

For more information, visit the Bureau of Meteorology.